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A Brief History of TerraGenesis

Although our copyright notice says that TerraGenesis was created by Gary James in 1997, the date is in fact a best guess. It could be older. We're not entirely sure.

The WHOIS record for the domain suggests that it was first registered on 18th September 1999 however this cannot be correct because, amongst other things, The Nedstat counter that we used to have on the front page of the site before Nedstat closed down, used to say that it had been recording hits since 11th June 1998.

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine has archived pages from terragenesis.co.uk dating back to November 1999 however this does not mean that this is the first time they were available; it's just the first time that the Wayback Machine records them.

Gary James - the creator of TerraGenesisIt is a fact that TerraGenesis started out as a subsection of another of Gary's websites so even if we could pinpoint the date that terragenesis.co.uk was first registered, it would be merely that, and not necessarily the date when TerraGenesis first came into existence.

The forum provides no solid evidence. The current forum was set up in February 2006 so membership dates and post counts are from that time only. Immediately prior to that TerraGenesis had a forum on ezBoard. That in turn was set up in January 2004 and a number of members have told us that they distinctly remember an even earlier forum. In particular, Nagasaurus tells us: "There was a forum before ezBoard (I remember proposing that we move to ezboard at the time) and I think there was even another forum before that one." There is evidence of one of those earlier forums here in The Wayback Machine but there are no obvious dates.

Gary himself has no record of when he started the site but tells us: "My ventures into terrain building began with Necromunda and were published on my Necromunda fan site on the old dircon.co.uk domain. Necromunda was published in 1995 so TG could not have been around before then. The first ever front page featured the Epic factory complex made from an ice lolly (popsicle) packing tray. That would have been for Epic 40K, 3rd Edition, which was published in 1997. So I would conclude that TG proper appeared in 1997."

Gary also did a little digging around at The Wayback Machine for us and found an archive of his old Necromunda Site. The Wayback Machine gives this page's date as 1998, and lo and behold it announces the launch of TerraGenesis, with a link to it at http://www.altdorf.com/terragenesis. However, the same page appears in later archives of the Wayback Machine so its 1998 date cannot be taken as definitive.

The copyright notice on the archived page says 1996/7 and at the bottom of the page it says "Thank you for being the Xth visitor since 18th February 1996". Gary believes that will be pretty close to when he launched the Necro site; it may have been a month or so before the counter was added. It all points to the archived page being from 1996/97, but given the amount of Necro content Gary reckons it's most probably 1997.

Sadly altdorf.com is not available in the archive (the owner of the domain appears to have blocked by The Wayback Machine's robots) however all of this suggests that the terrain collections will have been appearing on Gary's Necro site from around 1996 and that the name TerraGenesis was probably first used in 1997.

It is also the case that when Andy Slater took over as administrator in 2005, and transferred the article texts from the static HTML pages to create our current, database driven site, the earliest date he could find on any of the articles was 1997.

So, given all of the evidence we believe that 1997 is the most likely start date, even if we can't be 100% sure.

Dates that we do know for sure:

11th June 1998 - The Nedstat Counter (now defunct) was implemented and began recording site stats.

9th January 2004 - Day 1 of the forum at ezBoard.

1st October 2005 - Andy Slater takes on the role of Administrator on a trial basis.

28th January 2006 - The rights to TerraGenesis are transferred and Andy Slater becomes the new owner/administrator.

8th February 2006 - The current forum, based on phpBB, goes live.

22nd July 2006 - The gallery goes live.

11th June 2008 - The competition entry archiving mechanism goes live.

25th September 2013 - Subscriber Memership (an enhancement of Registered Membership) was introduced.

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